Sharing the Idea of “20 Minutes or 20 Dollars”

I had the privilege of speaking to a wonderful group in Merillville, IN last night about downsizing.

We covered a lot in our 60 minutes together: clearing clutter, determining the value of our stuff, how long to keep certain types of papers.  One idea that I shared with the group was the idea of “20 Minutes or 20 Dollars”.  A couple of people made a point to tell me that they really liked the idea, so I thought I would share.

I wish I could say that this genius idea was my own, but I can’t!  The idea comes from The Minimalists, in their essay, Getting Rid of Just-In-Case Items: 20 Minutes, 20 Dollars.   The premise is that if you are debating whether to keep or get rid of an item, remind yourself that almost anything can be replaced within $20 minutes or for $20 dollars.  And because we can easily replace most things, we don’t have to keep a million items for JUST IN CASE!

For Example:

20 Minutes:  
At last night’s presentation, I referenced the set of siblings that I’ve organized, each with a full set of chafing dishes.  Awesome but big, awkward, and only occasionally useful chafing dishes.  Apparently, these siblings had a very nice Great Aunt Somebody who always bought newlyweds a set of chafing dishes.  Here’s the thing – surely these siblings could SHARE a set, and just move the set around from family event to family event, instead of each of them having to keep their full set.  As they were all trying to de-clutter, it seemed that a quick phone call to each other and a 20 minute errand to pick up the shared set was more reasonable than keeping all the sets.

20 Minutes:
Last summer a friend hosted a big group of teens at her home for a weekend.  Instead of buying 20 air mattresses, she asked Facebook friends if she could borrow air mattresses.  In 20 minutes, she had dozens of offers for what she needed.

20 Dollars:
You know that box of cords?  Yes, THAT box.  The one that drives you crazy?  Most of us have at least one.  The black spaghetti mess of unmatched, unlabeled and unclaimed charging cords from ancient phones or digital cameras gone by?  Look around.  If what you use regularly already has a cord attached, you could probably purge all of those unclaimed cords and spend $20 someday on a replacement in the very remote chance you actually needed one of those random cords.  Clear up a whole lot of space, and bank on the fact you don’t need what is in that THAT box!

20 Minutes and 20 Dollars:
Sombreros (or similar items, you get the idea!).  Sombreros are big.  Awkward to store.  Not a commonly used items, let’s face it.  If you EVER had a need for a sombrero – party, costume, school presentation – you could either spend the $20 to buy one at a party store or on-line, or better yet, ask 10 friends if anyone has a sombrero, and I bet someone does!

This week, look around your house and at your clutter.  Ask yourself if you are keeping things for JUST IN CASE that could easily be replaced for $20 and / or within 20 minutes!  If so, let it go!

Your Stuff Needs an AWAY.

We all have stuff.  Stuff we need, stuff we use, stuff we love*.  Stuff.

(*if anyone can tell me who crafted the ‘Need, Use, Love’ criteria, I would love to know!)

Sometimes we have stuff we don’t need or use or love, and then our Stuff turns into Clutter.

 

Perhaps you have Stuff that you do need and use, but it is scattered around the house.  In the way, on surfaces, in bags, on top of other things. In this case, your Stuff becomes visual clutter.  We know we need to keep it, but it still drives us crazy.


Your Stuff needs an AWAY.
Once we determine what Stuff is needed and useful, we need to establish an AWAY, a spot or maybe multiple spots in our house for our Stuff to live.
Then we need to create and maintain the habit of actually putting our Stuff AWAY.
We put our Stuff AWAY…
  • to take good care of our Stuff so we don’t have to buy our Stuff again;
  • so we can find our Stuff again when we need it; and
  • to give our eyes a break and our homes a breath of clean and fresh air.
Ideas to consider:
  • If you have look around your home and notice piles of Stuff, we first ask – is that Stuff or Clutter?  If it’s Stuff, it needs an AWAY.  If it’s Clutter it needs to be purged.
  • We need to establish an AWAY for our Stuff that is convenient to where we use our Stuff. Obviously, we keep cooking and food items in the kitchen.  But we can be more specific, as in, keeping the coffee cups in the cabinet above the coffee maker which is also right next to the sink.
  • We also need to establish an AWAY that is convenient for the other related Stuff that goes with our Stuff.  So, in the coffee analogy, I might also keep the cream and sugar near the coffee maker and mugs, and the travel mugs nearby, too.
  • An AWAY for our stuff helps us decide about quantity.  For example: to me, one large dresser drawer full of t-shirts is a reasonable amount.  So, when I put my clean laundry AWAY and the drawer is too full (perhaps a recent shopping trip?), the boundaries of the drawer remind me of a reasonable t-shirt collection size, and I purge a few.
  • When we have a reliable AWAY and habit around putting our Stuff AWAY, we can check the AWAY location to determine if we need to buy more of our Stuff.  Again, using the coffee analogy, when the KCup holder (the AWAY) is empty, I know it is time to buy more KCups.  Imagine if I randomly stashed KCups all over the kitchen.  I wouldn’t know what I have, nor would I use it very well when I needed it.
  • Consider this idea from the other direction – If your stuff doesn’t have a home – an AWAY – it’s likely clutter.
Make the habit to put your Stuff AWAY.  Once a day, a couple times a week?  Put your Stuff Away, and enjoy the clutter-free space.  A clear space signals to your brain that you’re done, that work is complete, that the room is clean, etc.  A clear space can be both calming and energizing!
To sum up:
  • Decide what is Stuff and what is Clutter;
  • establish an AWAY for your Stuff;
  • establish good habits around putting your Stuff AWAY,
  • so you can take good care of your Stuff and enjoy a less cluttered home .
Have a great week!

Life’s Stormy Weather: Cleaning Up and Getting Ready

I presented to a church group last week, and as part of the meeting, they were reflecting on Proverbs 31:21, “She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows, because they are all dressed in warm clothes”.   As I pondered the verse, I realized that we all have Snow, we all have difficult seasons in our life.

This idea has been rolling around in my head these last few days, as friends and family struggle with life’s stormy weather, and the clean-up afterwards. Even we Klimczaks are cleaning up from especially busy days, and preparing for more busy times in the next few weeks.

We all have to endure “Snow” from the scripture, the stormy weather of life.  We have cold, dark, uncertain or tumultuous times:  big life events or small, personal hardships and tragedies, major work deadlines, illness or the death of a loved one.  If you are enduring ‘stormy weather’ right now, know that I am praying for you.

Here’s the toughest part, I think.  Regardless of our storms, no matter how vulnerable or maxed out we feel, the rest of the world just marches on.  And as hard as it seems, we have to catch up. Today, let’s talk about the after-storm clean up, and preparing for every day life plus the possibility of the next storm.

If you’re coming through your storm, you may feel tired, sad, drained, unmotivated.  Focus on Survival first: Food, clothing, shelter and safety.

  • Take a shower, get dressed, accomplish your usual morning routine.
  • Get something to eat and something to drink.  Take care of You.
  • Make the bed.  It’s amazing how accomplished we feel after such a simple task.
  • Open up the blinds and curtains.  Close your eyes and bask in the daylight for a moment or two. Maybe even crack a window open for some fresh air.  Breathe deeply.   If the day is dark and gloomy, turn on some soft lighting as you get moving.

Now, Maintenance tasks:

  • Grab a notebook.  I guarantee, as you move around your space today with your thoughts set on clearing “storm damage” and restoring order, ideas will occur to you that need to be noted!
  • Start a load of laundry.  Or fold a load.   Ah, laundry.  That never ending pursuit of clean clothes. Ours are clean but heaped in the big cart to be folded.  So this morning, I started a load and folded a couple.   This task took all of 5 minutes once I set out to complete it.
  • Clean the kitchen counter so you can make coffee, of course!, but also so you have some place to put the groceries you’re about to buy!
  • Craft a quick grocery list and head to the store.  This is not a 2-week buying extravaganza, this is the “let’s get through the next few days” trip.    And did you know there are flowers at the grocery?  Bought some tulips today.  Made me smile.  (There is also chocolate, specifically Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, on sale right now.  Just sayin’…)
  • Take a coupe more deep breaths.
  • Put the groceries away, grabbing something for your self for lunch and leaving something out for dinner.
  • Feeling better yet?
  • Check the mail that has piled up, toss or recycle as much as possible, add the action items (add them to your list, of course, like “pay bills”, and “make appointment for car service”), and schedule time to complete those action.
  • Check the email, purging all but the essentials.  Add the action items to your to-do list.   Put out fires and flag emails for later, add those to your action list then move on.
  • Accept help.  A friend offers to drive the car pool, drop off a meal or run an errand?  YES! And remember, sometimes the storm is ours, and sometimes it is someone else’s, so be ready to help out when you can, too.

The challenge with life’s stormy weather is that we don’t usually know when the storms will hit.  So it behooves us to quickly recover from life’s ups and downs and get back to normal, so we’re better prepared when the next storm rolls around.

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

Clutter and Procrastination: Making Room for Harry Potter

Sometimes there are actual hurdles – physical barriers! – between procrastination and organization.  Let’s seek them out, identify and remove them so we can get things done!

I love the Harry Potter books.  I’ve collected the hardback novels as they were released.  My set has seen the attentions of me and all three 3 sons as they read the series, too.  These books have seen the inside of many school backpacks,   traveled the country, been read and re-read, and are loved to the moon and back.  And they are showing their age (who isn’t?).

So, when a friend mentioned he was downsizing and had the full set in pristine condition, we jumped at the offer, in case one of my sons wanted to have a set to call their own.  Another generous friend recently shared a collection of organizing books with me (which I will share on this blog some day), too.

So, herein lies the problem.  Our bookshelves were full.   And I needed to make room on the shelves for these new additions / editions.

I’ve wanted to tackle the basement book shelves for a month, but just haven’t gotten around to it. But now, a pile of Harry Potter books lived in my office for a few days, then moved downstairs NEAR the bookshelves but still not ON the bookshelves.  Same went for the organizing books – oh, the irony.

I procrastinated about putting them away because there were actual barriers to putting them away.  Sound familiar?  Have you ever said or heard:

  • I can’t put away last year’s taxes because the file drawer is too full, or
  • I can’t put away last year’s taxes because of that pile of old printers stacked in front of the file cabinet.
  • I can’t schedule that appointment because I misplaced my calendar (a week ago), or I haven’t bought one for this year yet.
  • I can’t get rid of that old empty file cabinet before I find the keys (yes you can).
  • I can’t put the groceries away because the cabinets are disorganized, or are too full (I kid you not).
  • I can’t take those checks to the bank until I find a deposit slip (of course you can, the bank has piles of blank deposit slips!).
  • I can’t put stuff away on the book shelves because there are bags on the floor in front of the the bookshelves.
  • I want to organize that closet, but the light bulb burned out.

We’ve all had moments like this, I’m sure.   The good news for me and Harry Potter is that an hour on Saturday morning spent clearing off the bookshelves resulted in plenty of space for the new books, clean and dust-free shelves, the discovery of a few gems, and 3 bags of books in excellent condition donated to my local library yesterday morning.

So, this week, I want you to walk around your space with an eye on your Task List and also on the physical barriers that may be making you procrastinate instead of completing your tasks. Piles here and there, minor home repairs, maybe something as simple as taking out the trash, dropping off donations, or loading up those printers to drop off at your local EWaste recycling site.  Remove those physical obstructions, and get things done!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

Out With The Old, In With The New… In The Kitchen!

Are “get fit”, “eat healthier” or “lose weight” goals of yours for 2017?  And those have been really easy to accomplish, right?

Or…not?

We have good intentions, of course, but perhaps we’ve hit some bumps on the road to getting healthier!  We can succeed when our kitchen works with us towards our goals!

Here’s a tip:  A cluttered kitchen leads us to unhealthy habits.  Conversely, cleaning up your kitchen helps you create and keep healthy habits.  And I have data to back these statements up, click here for more info:

So, out with the old and in with the new!

Out With The Old:

  • Clear your counters.  Give yourself space to prepare healthy food.
  • As you clear the kitchen, pull out the rogue holiday items you find, and put them away with your holiday decor in the attic or basement.
  • Clear the Cabinets:
    • Clear the holiday snacks out of the cabinets. It’s been over a month, let them go!
    • Save money and free up space: Don’t shop!  Use what you have on hand this week!
    • Check Expiration dates.  Toss the really old stuff, and add the close-to-expiring items to your menu.
    • Check open items for staleness (is that a word?), and toss the gross stuff.
  • Clear out the fridge – again, checking expiration dates and investigating all those mysterious plastic containers.  Same for the freezer.  Add found items to your menu this week, to use up what you have on hand!
  • Clean out your utensil drawers – take everything out, wipe out the drawer and let it dry, then put the items back in the drawer, after editing of course! Purge old or broken items, and duplicates.

In With The New:

  • Re-populate the cabinets and fridge with healthy food items.
  • If you must buy snacks and things, for the other people in your house who ARE NOT trying to eat healthier, limit the variety and location to a single bin or shelf, and populate the rest of the kitchen with healthier options.
  • Healthy Habits:
    • Meal Prep is one of the best habits you can create for eating healthier.  Pack healthy lunches for the week, leave them in the fridge, and then grab and go when you head out in the morning!
    • Meal prep success relies on storage containers. Which leads us to …Plastic Containers.  Oh boy.  Pull them out.  Match up the bottoms and tops.  Toss the broken, stained or lonely/ unmatched containers.
    • Drink more water! Corral your reusable water bottles, pare them down to your favorite 3 or 4 (I once found 37 in a kitchen.)  Store those water bottles where they are convenient and likely to be used!  And take one with you every day!
    • Save time, money and calories this year, and take your own coffee with you!  Store those go-mugs and coffee where they are convenient, too!
    • If your healthy habits include smoothies, put all your smoothie equipment in a basket next to  or near your blender.  Do the same with any of your smoothie ingredients, like a fruit basket in the fridge, or a bin in the cabinet above the blender.
    • Bring out the healthy foods, store them front and center.  Make healthy eating convenient!

Spend some time in your kitchen this week,

clear the clutter that is holding you back, and

make your kitchen work for you!

 

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

 

My Client Asked Me If I Was Falling Apart

In conversation with a client last week as we organized, I mentioned that I was having my wedding ring, my favorite leather backpack and a loved black jacket all repaired at local businesses.

She asked, with humor, “Does this mean you are falling apart?!”

Not the response I expected!  I explained that all of those steps are actually a coming together, a positive process, and we then chatted about the importance of maintenance and being a responsible consumer.

For me, a big part of Being Organized means establishing and maintaining systems and items that work for you. Every system and item requires maintenance. And maintenance requires resources, of time, money and energy.

Last week, I

  • Picked up my favorite black jacket with a repaired liner from Park Cleaners in Evergreen Park;
  • Picked up my leather backpack from the local shoe repair shop, Fernandos, in Evergreen Park, and it looks new!  I knew the other customers that day, too, all dropping off cold weather shoes and boots for repair before winter sets in;
  • Picked up my wedding ring from Coren Jewelers in Evergreen Park, with the prongs tightened and looking sooo shiny; and
  • Shipped off Tumi suitcases for repair for a client.  Expensive bags, yes, but their maintenance and repair policies are amazing.

Taking care of our favorites helps us out in a number of ways:

  • Save money:  Buying high quality items once and maintaining them is cheaper than buying and rebuying many cheap items.  And identifying and taking care of Favorites keeps us from buying more stuff and making more clutter.
  • Save Space: A small collection of favorites takes up a lot less space than a large collection of un-used and un-loved items.
  • Save Time:  with less clutter to have to sort through, you will find what you’re looking for quickly.  And you’ll spend less time, overall, maintaining “stuff”.
  • Clear Clutter:  Clear spaces with just your favorite items in view gives our minds and eyes a break!

Suggestions – Here’s How!

  • Know What You Have.
  • Know what your favorites are (You may be thinking “But, Coll: they’re all my favorites!”  No, not everything is a favorite, you are not a toddler.).
  • Know how to take care of your favorites, and what the product warranty entails.  And when in doubt about how to, say, clean a crystal vase (a client question a couple of weeeks ago), Google it  (denture tablets, by the way)!
  • Use your favorites!  There is nothing sadder than cabinets and boxes of beautiful and treasured items that never see the light of day!
  • Buy things once, then spend time and money and energy taking care of them. Less is more.
  • Research major purchases for value.  Be willing to invest a little more $$ for higher quality stuff.
  • When making major purchases, make sure to register the item with the manufacturer, to activate the warranty, but also to receive recall information, promotional specials, etc.
  • Support Local (keep the green in evergreen!) Look for local repair opportunities, and if you are unsure what local business to use, ask your friends / family / neighbors for a referral.

Maintain your favorites.  Take care of them, and they will stay your favorites for a long time!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

15 Minutes and $30. Chrome Shelves – 5 Solutions!

Chrome storage shelf unit, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!  Chrome storage / shelf units are:

  • Sturdy (we’re talking – able to hold hundreds of pounds);1170bb44-bd15-4b8a-a37f-a79d6fc1b4dd_400
  • Aesthetically pleasing (they look nice);
  • Water and weather proof (ideal for garage and outdoor use);
  • Good for ventilation, with the open spacing;
  • Easily dis-assembled and re-assembled, if necessary, for ease in moving from home to home; and
  • Adjustable and flexible, coming in a wide range of sizes with feet that can be adjusted for uneven floors (like my sloping laundry room floor) or wheels to be added.

Over the years, I have assembled dozens of shelving units like these for clients and myself.  These sets are inexpensive, utilitarian and attractive, and can be set up in no time at all.

What organizational challenges or underutilized spaces could use a Chrome Shelving cure?

My personal favorite, a storage unit as a printer stand on the counter extension next to my desk (30″ H x 24″ W).

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Here, we use the shelves to hold luggage and extra bedding in a summer cottage bedroom
(30″ H x 36″ W).

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The shelves are great for adding storage to awkward areas, like the small space between my wash tub and wall in my laundry room, or shown here as storage in an empty corner of a bathroom in need of a linen closet  (30″ H x 36″ W).

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Ok, so these larger shelves cost more than $29.99 + tax, but they still were a snap to assemble, and a really great storage solution.  These two photos are taken of 6′ tall chrome shelving units, with the optional wheels added so we can maneuver the units.  One of my clients has 4 of these 6′ x 4′ units on wheels in her garage, and we can move them around based on need and convenience.  The photo on the left shows area rug and off-season houseware storage.  The photo on the right shows my own garage, with the shelves waiting for donation and recycling items that come and go from my clients.

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So, what organizational challenge can you solve with this simple solution this week?  Give it a try!

A Monster Standing Between Me and My Coffee.

Some mornings, I am greeted with a terrifying sight.
 

coffeeYou see, sometimes we (and I include myself in this “we”) will snack / cook / make popcorn in an evening, and not clean up the kitchen before going to bed.  The next morning, I head to the kitchen only to find a big mess between me and my first cup of coffee.

Ahhhhh!!!

On a recent weekday morning, I spent 10 minutes setting my kitchen back to rights after some last night snacking.  As I went through the usual list of tasks, I realized I could share this organized process!  Especially considering that this phenomenon may happen other times of the day, too, like when I rush home from a client to get dinner started before a busy evening only to find stuff on EVERY COUNTER and no room to cook.
 

(I just read a Real Simple article over the weekend, that likened this trashed kitchen phenomenon to “the refrigerator exploding”, or “the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo”.  It was a great article, click here to read the whole thing: http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/how-to-live-with-messy-person)
So here is what you need to clean up your kitchen in a flash!
  • A system;
  • An empty dishwasher;
  • A dish pan (to corral your dirty dishes);
  • A sink dish drain (no counter clutter!); and
  • cleaning spray and a paper towel or cleaning cloth.
dish pandish drainmicrofiber clothspray bottles
 
Here is the system
  • Pick a counter to start, and move around the room:
  • (30 seconds) Start with the easy: toss the trash, close the cabinets, put away the toaster or popcorn maker (for example);
  • (30 seconds) Put away food (we’re good about putting perishable stuff away right away);
  • (60 seconds) Load the dishes into the dish pan, and wipe down the counters with the cleaning spray;
  • (2 minutes) Empty the in-sink dish drain and put away the dishes;
  • (2 minutes) Empty the dishwasher if it’s clean;
  • (60 seconds) Load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher; and
  • (Optional – 60 more seconds) Run the garbage disposal, and then fill a dishpan full of hot soapy water and set any pans and non-dishwasherable items to soak.

Now, your kitchen is cleaned, or at least clean enough to start that first cup of coffee, assemble breakfast and pack lunches, or get dinner on the table!

Six and a Half Pounds

6 and a half pounds.
That’s how much the average handbag weighs.  And that doesn’t include a lap top.
6.5 pounds look like:
  • A Mr. Coffee 12-cup Coffeemaker;  bag
  • 6 1/2 bottles of water;
  • A pair of men’s size 10 hiking boots;
  • A two liter bottle of soda (from answers.com);
  • 67 hershey bars;
  • 520 pencils;
  • 1170 pennies; or
  • a 5 pound bag of sugar and a pound of butter.
And we’re schlepping that around on our shoulder every day.  (Fellas, don’t think I am not talking to you today.  I see those messenger bags you haul around, and the bulging wallet with receipts, store cards and ancient business cards but no actual cash.)

I saw a woman walking to her car today with 4 – count them 4! – bags on her shoulder.  She still looked confident and awesome doing it, too.  If I had to guess, she had a bag for the gym, a healthy lunch, a great handbag and a tote for work.  She was doing it all, and doing it well, but she could make her load lighter, in every way!

I’m suggesting that we all carry around a lot more than we need, and our joints and backs and shoulders often pay the price.  My challenge to you this week is to lighten your load, and clear the clutter out of your bags!

Here’s how:

  • Clear off a counter, or your dining table.  Dump the contents of your handbag / back back / messenger bag / gym bag out completely.
  • Now, tackle this project just like any other organizing project (per Julie Morgenstern), with our usual 5 step process:
  1. Sort: Sort the contents by category.  Receipts, dirty tissues, cosmetics, pens / pencils / paper clips / notebooks, novels, ear buds, money including 7.50 in loose change, unopened and opened mail, work papers… well, you get the picture.
  2. Purge: Now that you can see what you have, purge the clutter that can go.  Toss the trash, file or shred the mail and receipts, keep a few pencils and one notebook, put the change in a jar for later and get rid of any other clutter.
  3. Assign a Home:  Once you have established what stuff you need to carry with you, determine how you can store it better.  In my bag, I have: a first aid kit / cosmetics bag (yes, a first aid kit because I am a terrible klutz); my wallet which has a wrist strap and I can carry solo with my cards, receipts, cash and change; a few pens and index cards, sunglasses, some lotion and antibacterial hand cleaner; and an envelope with store coupons for when I run my errands.  The whole thing weighs a couple pounds.
  4. Containerize: A handbag or back pack is a container itself, but we do better with sub categories in smaller containers in our bags.  Try a pencil case (just like in school), a cosmetic bag or small bag for personal items, or an envelope for receipts.
  5. Equalize: A fancy word for Maintenance.  Once you have cleared bag clutter, keep it from coming back!
    1. Bigger bags versus Smaller Bags:  I’ve used this logic at times – instead of two or three bags, why don’t I just use one really big bag to carry everything?  Well, of course the problem with that is that we end up carrying around everything all the time in one really heavy bag, instead of just what we need! So Go for the SMALLER BAG!
    2. Receipts are a challenge: provide temporary storage, and a process for getting them out of your handbag and on to their final destination.
    3. Clean out your bag regularly (I have to admit, I use waiting-for-kids-at-practice time to clean out my bag if it needs cleaning).
    4. Unpack your extra bag.  I don’t always carry a tote, but when I do, I empty it out every day and put today’s business away.  If I need the tote again tomorrow, I will only put in it the business I need for the day.
So, carve out 20 minutes this week and lighten your load in all sorts of ways!

If You Have To Ask if a Shirt Is Ugly, It Probably Is.

I have a creamy yellow sweater… well, I had it until a week ago. But it had to go.
Here’s the thing.I look terrible in yellow.  And I KNOW this.  And yet, the sweater remained, for more years than it deserved.  I didn’t want to give it away – it was warm, well made and expensive.  I have fallen in and out of love with this sweater for years, saving it again this year to wear with a belt.

Recently, optimism won out again, and the yellow sweater made it out of the closet and on to my body on a particularly chilly evening for an event at school.  And photos were taken.  And posted on the school PR page.  And I STILL looked terrible in the sweater.  Yikes.

Friends, listen to your intuition.  If an item is beautiful, but not beautiful on you, it needs to go away.

The yellow sweater is gone, gone, gone.  It can bless someone else now.

Spring-like temperatures are here, and this week is National Clean out Your Closet Week AND National Clutter Awareness Week.  These factors motivated me to start switching my clothes out for the season and to purge some items.

Yesterday, as I got dressed for a presentation, I held a shirt in my hand, and heard myself say out loud “I just can’t decide if its ugly or not”.  Guess what?  If I can’t decide if its ugly or not, I will NEVER wear it.  So remaining undecided is not really an option.  If there is even a slight concern that a clothing item might be ugly, I am never going to choose it over another not-ugly item.

If you can’t decide if an item is ugly or not, it probably IS ugly.   If you have a doubt about an item, or if you pick it up and look at it with that crinkle in your forehead as you try to figure out when you would ever wear it… You Are Never Going to Wear It. Let it go.

Wrong color, wrong cut, bad pattern, baggy or unflattering?  Just let it go.

We all tend to have too much in our closet, as opposed to not enough.  So it is typically safe to err on the side of caution.  You deserve clothes that you don’t have to question.